Photo: Sergio LlameraTomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek (CZE)
It’s Spain and Czech Republic who lead the way in the quest for places in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final as they both enter the third and final day 2-1 ahead.
The Czech doubles pairing of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanekput the visitors in the driving seat following a routine 63 64 63 victory over Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank on Saturday. They now need just one point from Sunday’s singles rubbers – which they both feature in – to secure a spot in the final for the second time in four years.
Bob and Mike Bryan kept USA in the hunt after they emerged victorious from their doubles match against Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 63 36 75 75 in the otehr semifinal. The Americans still have a long way to go if they are to triumph this weekend and pressure is heaped upon the shoulders of John Isner and Sam Querrey for Sunday’s singles rubbers. The last time a team in the World Group came back from 0-2 down was in the 1998 first round tie between Sweden and Slovak Republic.
Belgium were the first nation to come through the play-offs and secure their place in the World Group for 2013 after Ruben Bemelmans and Olivier Rochus won their doubles rubber to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead. Their opponents, Sweden, have a proud Davis Cup record and find themselves relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group I for just the second time in the World Group’s 21-year history.
Brazil joined Belgium in next year's World Group by moving into an insurmountable 3-0 lead of their own at home against Russia. Doubles specialists Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares sealed promotion for their country with a 75 62 76(7) victory over Alex Bogomolov and Teymuraz Gabashvili. Brazil will now compete in Davis Cup's top tier for the first time in nine years.
Ties are poised at 2-1 in Astana, Tokyo, Hamburg, Montreal and Naples, but perhaps the most surprising result of the day occurred in Amsterdam where 2008 Beijing Olympic champions Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka succumbed in four sets to Robin Haase and Jean Julien Rojer to force a live third day.
Click the links below to follow the action from each World Group semifinal and play-off tie.
World Group semifinals
- Spain 2-1 USA
- Argentina 1-2 Czech Republic
World Group play-offs
- Kazakhstan 2-1 Uzbekistan
- Germany 1-2 Australia
- Japan 1-2 Israel
- Belgium 3-0 Sweden
- Canada 2-1 South Africa
- Brazil 3-0 Russia
- Italy 2-1 Chile
- Netherlands 1-2 Switzerland